At the February 23 Graduate Studies’ Seminar, the Chair of the Information Systems program, Dr. Ago MacGranaky Quaye, and Dr. Chidi Ononiwu, jointly presented on Understanding, Selecting and Integrating Theories in Dissertation Research.
They maintained that theoretical underpinnings drive the selection of research area of study, the development of research questions, the conceptualization of the literature review, the design approach, and the analysis plan of the thesis. “Selecting an appropriate theory to underpin a study is therefore critical, primarily because it shapes and defines the results.”
In the seminar, how to select theories in research works was examined. They said there is a need for a researcher to engage in a serious literature review and understand theories that are attached to them and then to try to contrast and combine them. “Because there may be two or three theories that will give you the much more explanatory power to that thing you are looking at.”
The professors also explained where students go wrong in the theory selection process. “First, they don’t even care what the theory is about. They are interested in someone suggesting a theory to them. And they just patch the theories in their proposals.”
As regards where to place the theoretical framework in a thesis, the student must carry a theoretical framework from the time the dissertation topic is initially conceptualized.
They also explained the difference between theoretical frameworks and conceptual frameworks and their applications in research. “Theoretical framework is derived from theory while the Conceptual framework is derived from the concept that revolves around the literature review that you find very relevant to your domain of knowledge.”
Prof. Quaye is interested in ICT for Development, Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and related areas of research.
Prof Ononiwu has research interests in critical realism applications to Information Systems Research, Research Methodology & Design in Information Systems, IT-enabled social innovations and entrepreneurship, Big-data analytics, enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems and Emergent use of Information systems in the developing countries.
Reported by Omorogbe Omorogiuwa